PVC Design Award 2013—Putting Japan's strength to the test with flexible PVC


The announcement of the results of the third PVC Design Award and exhibitions of the award winning works were held from the end of October to November in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. In order to discover new value in a material called flexible PVC (polyvinyl chloride), the award solicited design proposals and products (on the market for less than five years) to take on the market and the world under the theme, “Putting Japan's strength to the test with flexible PVC.” The number of entries rose to 327 this year, and the ratio of works based in processing method or function and not just external appearance increased dramatically.

Grand prize Deco Bag by Maki Ishida

Two works were selected for the Grand prize. Deco Bag by Maki Ishida is a bag with a shock absorbing function, and was evaluated highly for technology that realized vacuum forming of a PVC sheet into indentations, and for expressions that utilized flexible PVC's transparent texture laid over the outside and inside of the bag. The development of diverse applications of size and shape variations is expected.

Grand prize Airquin by Mind Create Japan

Airquin, which also won the Grand prize, is an inflatable mannequin that realistically simulates the shape of the human body. Ever since it went on sale in 2011, Airquin has received the broad support of the fashion industry owing to how easy it is to store and carry, as well as the way it facilitates the use of display space, such as suspension in midair. It received high marks for high quality and its unprecedented processing and formative techniques that integrate existing technologies.

Award of excellence: Cell by Ryota Uchida.
By realizing the cushion function of air inside a cell structure resulting from affixing two PVC sheets together, Cell creates a beautiful effect brought by the transparency and overlaid color only possible with flexible PVC.

One feature of this award is the fact the design proposals selected in the first screening are prototyped through the cooperation of PVC manufacturing companies and are examined during the final screening. The quality of the prototypes also plays a part in that screening. Although as in previous years some works faced technological difficulties during the prototyping stage, this year some works surprised the judges as they were finished to a degree that exceeded concept models thanks to the cooperation of companies with differing expertise.

Award of excellence: Air Cell by Kento Misawa, Keita Nishiyama, and Sakiko Matsumi.
Air Cell is an anti-shock pad for glass created by injecting air into a flexible hexagonal PVC cushion and employing the self-adhering properties of flexible PVC. The design was evaluated highly also for the beautiful way the material allows light to pass through.

Reflecting the organizer's statement that “without new challenges, the industry cannot develop,” this approach to enliven competition within the industry is quite impressive.

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